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A gas insulated substation is an electrical substation in which the major structures are contained in a sealed environment with sulfur

hexafluoride gas as the insulating medium. Gas insulated substations originated in Japan where the there a major need to develop technology that would allow substations to be made as compact as possible. The main applications for gas insulated substations today are: - high voltage installations (usually 115kV and above although some manufacturers offer equipment with voltage ratings down to 20kV). The higher the voltage, the more favorable gas insulated technology becomes. The footprint of 765kV conventional substation is enormous, and GIS technology allows a significant size reduction. - urban installations. Usually, but not always, GIS technology is used for installations in areas where the cost of real estate is a significant consideration - indoor installations (which are more common in urban areas for aesthetic reasons). It is generally not practical to build an air-insulated substation inside a building, but GIS can easily go inside buildings. - other environmentally sensitive installations. GIS technology is popular in desert and arctic areas because it can be enclosed in a building with some environmental control. Gas insulated substations also contain the electrical components within a Faraday cage and are therefore totally shielded from lightning. GIS installations tend to be much more expensive that air-insulated installations with the same rating. The additional capital cost is justified based on the reduced cost of real estate, the ability to provide environmental containment, or the fact that the substation is totally shielded from lightning, something that is not practical with air insulated technology. In most cases, the circuit breakers in gas insulated substations employ SF6 as the interrupting medium as well as the insulating medium, but there are hybrid installations (especially at lower voltages) in which breakers use vacuum interruption. The gas pressure required for SF6 to serve as an interruption medium is much greater than the pressure required for it to be an insulation medium. In early generation SF6 installations, a dual-pressure approach was required - one gas pressure in those areas where SF6 is only an insulating medium, and a higher pressure inside the breaker interrupting compartment. That was complicated and expensive and required high maintenance. Modern equipment uses a 'puffer' technique in which SF6 gas is forced into the space between breaker contacts as they are opening, increasing local gas pressure enough to support interruption. One of the problems with GIS technology is that the handful of suppliers; this causes some to be concerned about the competitiveness of commercial offerings. In the past, there was also a concern that only the original manufacturer of an installation would be willing to accept the risk of offering an expansion to that installation. The concern was the integrity of the seals at the point where the original installation and the expansion came together. As a result, a purchaser who committed to a GIS installation was perpetually tied to the supplier of that installation for any future expansion needs,

and this put the purchaser at the mercy of that supplier in future expansions. In recent years, manufacturers have overcome the technical issues of assuring the reliability of the seals between dissimilar equipment, so this problem is less significant today

In an electric power system, switchgear is the combination of electrical disconnect switches, fuses or circuit breakers used to control, protect and isolate electrical equipment. Switchgear is used both to de-energize equipment to allow work to be done and to clear faults downstream. This type of equipment is important because it is directly linked to the reliability of the electricity supply. The very earliest central power stations used simple open knife switches, mounted on insulating panels of marble or asbestos. Power levels and voltages rapidly escalated, making open manually operated switches too dangerous to use for anything other than isolation of a de-energized circuit. Oil-filled equipment allowed arc energy to be contained and safely controlled. By the early 20th century, a switchgear line-up would be a metal-enclosed structure with electrically operated switching elements, using oil circuit breakers. Today, oil-filled equipment has largely been replaced by air-blast, vacuum, or SF6 equipment, allowing large currents and power levels to be safely controlled by automatic equipment incorporating digital controls, protection, metering and communications. High voltage switchgear was invented at the end of the 19th century for operating motors and other electric machines.[1] The technology has been improved over time and can be used with voltages up to 1,100 kV.[2] Typically switchgear in substations is located on both the high voltage and the low voltage side of large power transformers. The switchgear on the low voltage side of the transformers may be located in a building, with medium-voltage circuit breakers for distribution circuits, along with metering, control, and protection equipment. For industrial applications, a transformer and switchgear line-up may be combined in one housing, called a unitized substation or USS.


1 Housing 2 Types o 2.1 Oil o 2.2 Gas o 2.3 Vacuum o 2.4 Air 3 Classification 4 Functions

5 Safety 6 References 7 External links

[edit] Housing
Switchgear for low voltages may be entirely enclosed within a building. For transmission levels of voltage (high voltages over 66 kV), often switchgear will be mounted outdoors and insulated by air, though this requires a large amount of space. Gas insulated switchgear used for transmission-level voltages saves space compared with air-insulated equipment, although it has a higher equipment cost. Oil insulated switchgear presents an oil spill hazard. At small substations, switches may be manually operated, but at important switching stations on the transmission network all devices have motor operators to allow for remote control.

[edit] Types
A piece of switchgear may be a simple open-air isolator switch or it may be insulated by some other substance. An effective although more costly form of switchgear is gas insulated switchgear (GIS), where the conductors and contacts are insulated by pressurized sulfur hexafluoride gas (SF6). Other common types are oil or vacuum insulated switchgear. The combination of equipment within the switchgear enclosure allows them to interrupt fault currents of thousands of amps. A circuit breaker (within a switchgear enclosure) is the primary component that interrupts fault currents. The quenching of the arc when the circuit breaker pulls apart the contacts open (disconnects the circuit) requires careful design. Circuit breakers fall into these four types:

[edit] Oil
Oil circuit breakers rely upon vaporization of some of the oil to blast a jet of oil through the arc.

[edit] Gas
Main article: Sulfur hexafluoride circuit breaker Gas (SF6) circuit breakers sometimes stretch the arc using a magnetic field, and then rely upon the dielectric strength of the SF6 to quench the stretched arc.

[edit] Vacuum

Vacuum circuit breakers have minimal arcing (as there is nothing to ionize other than the contact material), so the arc quenches when it is stretched a very small amount (<2 3 mm). At or near current zero the arc is not hot enough to maintain a plasma, and current ceases; the gap can then withstand the rise of voltage. Vacuum circuit breakers are frequently used in modern medium-voltage switchgear to 35,000 volts. Unlike the other types, they are inherently unsuitable for interrupting DC faults.[citation needed]

[edit] Air
Air circuit breakers may use compressed air (puff)or the magnetic force of the arc itself to elongate the arc. As the length of the sustainable arc is dependent on the available voltage, the elongated arc will eventually exhaust itself. Alternatively, the contacts are rapidly swung into a small sealed chamber, the escaping of the displaced air thus blowing out the arc. Circuit breakers are usually able to terminate all current flow very quickly: typically between 30 ms and 150 ms depending upon the age and construction of the device.

[edit] Classification
Several different classifications of switchgear can be made[3]:

By the current rating. By interrupting rating (maximum short circuit current that the device can safely interrupt) o Circuit breakers can open and close on fault currents o Load-break/Load-make switches can switch normal system load currents o Isolators may only be operated while the circuit is dead, or the load current is very small. By voltage class: o Low voltage (less than 1,000 volts AC) o Medium voltage (1,00035,000 volts AC) o High voltage (more than 35,000 volts AC) By insulating medium: o Air o Gas (SF6 or mixtures) o Oil o Vacuum By construction type: o Indoor (further classified by IP (Ingress Protection) class or NEMA enclosure type) o Outdoor o Industrial o Utility o Marine

Draw-out elements (removable without many tools) Fixed elements (bolted fasteners) Live-front Dead-front Open Metal-enclosed Metal-clad Metal enclosed & Metal clad Arc-resistant By IEC degree of internal separation [4] o No Separation (Form 1) o Busbars separated from functional units (Form 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b) o Terminals for external conductors separated from busbars (Form 2b, 3b, 4a, 4b) o Terminals for external conductors separated from functional units but not from each other (Form 3a, 3b) o Functional units separated from each other (Form 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b) o Terminals for external conductors separated from each other (Form 4a, 4b) o Terminals for external conductors separate from their associated functional unit (Form 4b) By interrupting device: o Fuses o Air Circuit Breaker o Minimum Oil Circuit Breaker o Oil Circuit Breaker o Vacuum Circuit Breaker o Gas (SF6) Circuit breaker By operating method: o Manually operated o Motor/stored energy operated o Solenoid operated By type of current: o Alternating current o Direct current By application: o Transmission system o Distribution By purpose o Isolating switches (disconnectors) o Load-break switches.[5][6] o Grounding (earthing) switches
o o o o o o o o o

A single line-up may incorporate several different types of devices, for example, airinsulated bus, vacuum circuit breakers, and manually operated switches may all exist in the same row of cubicles.

Ratings, design, specifications and details of switchgear are set by a multitude of standards. In North America mostly IEEE and ANSI standards are used, much of the rest of the world uses IEC standards, sometimes with local national derivatives or variations.

[edit] Functions
One of the basic functions of switchgear is protection, which is interruption of shortcircuit and overload fault currents while maintaining service to unaffected circuits. Switchgear also provides isolation of circuits from power supplies. Switchgear is also used to enhance system availability by allowing more than one source to feed a load.

[edit] Safety
To help ensure safe operation sequences of switchgear, trapped key interlocking provides predefined scenarios of operation. For example, if only one of two sources of supply are permitted to be connected at a given time, the interlock scheme may require that the first switch must be opened to release a key that will allow closing the second switch. Complex schemes are possible. Indoor switchgear can also be type tested for internal arc containment (e.g. IEC 62271200). This test is important for user safety as modern switchgear is capable of switching large currents. ([1]) Switchgear is often inspected using thermal imaging to assess the state of the system and predict failures before they occur. Other methods include partial discharge (PD) testing, using either fixed or portable testers, and acoustic emission testing using surface-mounted transducers (for oil equipment) or ultrasonic detectors used in outdoor switchyards. SF6 equipment is invariably fitted with alarms and interlocks to warn of loss of pressure, and to prevent operation if the pressure falls too low. The increasing awareness of dangers associated with high fault levels has resulted in network operators specifying closed door operation for operating earth switches and racking breakers. Many European power companies have banned operators from switch rooms while operating. Remote racking systems are available which allow an operator to rack switchgear from a remote location without the need to wear a protective arc flash hazard suit. A gas-insulated substation (GIS) uses a superior dielectric gas, SF6, at moderate pressure for phase-tophase and phase-to-ground insulation. The high voltage conductors, circuit breaker interrupters, switches, current transformers, and voltage transformers are in SF6 gas inside grounded metal enclosures. The atmospheric air insulation used in a conventional, air-insulated substation (AIS) requires meters of air insulation to do what SF6 can do in centimeters. GIS can therefore be smaller than AIS by up to a factor of 10. A GIS is mostly used where space is expensive or not available. In a GIS the active parts

are protected from the deterioration from exposure to atmospheric air, moisture, contamination, etc.

Gas-Insulated Substations GIS

Posted Nov 10 2010 by Edvard in High Voltage, Medium Voltage with 10 Comments

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Gas-insulated Substation

Superior Dielectric Gas

A gas-insulated substation (GIS) uses a superior dielectric gas, SF6, at moderate pressure for phase-tophase and phase-to-ground insulation. The high voltage conductors, circuit breaker interrupters, switches, current transformers, and voltage transformers are

in SF6 gas inside grounded metal enclosures. The atmospheric air insulation used in a conventional, air-insulated substation (AIS) requires meters of air insulation to do what SF6 can do in centimeters. GIS can therefore be smaller than AIS by up to a factor of 10. A GIS is mostly used where space is expensive or not available. In a GIS the active parts are protected from the deterioration from exposure to atmospheric air, moisture, contamination, etc. As a result, GIS is more reliable and requires less maintenance than AIS. GIS was first developed in various countries between 1968 and 1972. After about 5 years of experience, the use rate increased to about 20% of new substations in countries where space is limited. In other countries with space easily available, the higher cost of GIS relative to AIS has limited use to special cases. For example, in the U.S., only about 2% of new substations are GIS. International experience with GIS is described in a series of CIGRE papers (CIGRE, 1992; 1994; 1982). The IEEE (IEEE Std. C37. 122-1993; IEEE Std C37. 122.1-1993) and the IEC (IEC, 1990) have standards covering all aspects of the design, testing, and use of GIS. For the new user, there is a CIGRE application guide (Katchinski et al., 1998). IEEE has a guide for specifications for GIS (IEEE Std. C37.123-1996).



Sulfur hexaflouride is an inert, nontoxic, colorless, odorless, tasteless, and nonflammable gas consisting of a sulfur atom surrounded by and tightly bonded to six flourine atoms. It is about five times as dense as air. SF6 is used in GIS at pressures from 400 to 600 kPa absolute. The pressure is chosen so that the SF6 will not condense into a liquid at the lowest temperatures the equipment experiences. SF6 has two to three times the insulating ability of air at the same pressure. SF6 is about 100 times better than air for interrupting arcs. It is the universally used interrupting medium for high voltage circuit breakers, replacing the older mediums of oil and air. SF6 decomposes in the high temperature of an electric arc, but the decomposed gas recombines back into SF6 so well that it is not necessary to replenish the SF6 in GIS. There are some reactive decomposition byproducts formed because of the trace presence of moisture, air, and other contaminants. The quantities formed are very small. Molecular sieve absorbants inside the GIS enclosure eliminate these reactive byproducts. SF6 is supplied in 50-kg gas cylinders in a liquid state at a pressure of about 6000 kPa for convenient storage and transport. Gas handling systems with filters, compressors, and vacuum pumps are commercially available. Best practices and the personnel safety aspects of SF6 gas handling are covered in international standards (IEC, 1995). Top

The SF6 in the equipment must be dry enough to avoid condensation of moisture as a liquid on the surfaces of the solid epoxy support insulators because liquid water on the surface can cause a dielectric breakdown. However, if the moisture condenses as ice, the breakdown voltage is not affected. So dew points in the gas in the equipment need to be below about 10C. For additional margin, levels of less than 1000 ppmv of moisture are usually specified and easy to obtain with careful gas handling. Absorbants inside the GIS enclosure help keep the moisture level in the gas low, even though over time, moisture will evolve from the internal surfaces and out of the solid dielectric materials (IEEE Std. 1125-1993). Small conducting particles of mm size significantly reduce the dielectric strength of SF6 gas. This effect becomes greater as the pressure is raised past about 600 kPa absolute (Cookson and Farish, 1973). The particles are moved by the electric field, possibly to the higher field regions inside the equipment or deposited along the surface of the solid epoxy support insulators, leading to dielectric breakdown at operating voltage levels. Cleanliness in assembly is therefore very important for GIS. Fortunately, during the factory and field power frequency high voltage tests, contaminating particles can be detected as they move and cause small electric discharges (partial discharge) and acoustic signals, so they can be removed by opening the equipment. Some GIS equipment is provided with internal particle traps that capture the particles before they move to a location where they might cause breakdown. Most

GIS assemblies are of a shape that provides some natural low electric field regions where particles can rest without causing problems.

245 kV circuit breaker in air insulated substation 420 kV gas insulated switchgear